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Punjab Jails Go Hi-Tech

by Jawad Ali

Punjab Jail Department planning to install the latest mobile jammers in of its 13 jails.

Punjab Jail department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) for the installation of latest technology mobile frequency jammers in all 13 jails of the province.

The MOU was signed by the Inspector General Jails Punjab Mian Farooq Nazeer, and Managing Director NRTC Brig Iftikhar on behalf of their respective organizations.

According to the agreement, the NRTC will install new jammers in all 13 jails of the province with the estimated cost of PKR 331 million in order to restrict the communication of the inmates.

It is reported that existing jammers were not working fully after the induction of 3G, LTE cellular technology in Pakistan which was allowing the inmates to use the cell phones illegally in the jails.

After the complaints, the Jail department has conducted the technical survey. The survey findings suggested that the upgrading of the mobile frequency jammers in all 13 jails of the province.

The NRTC has also started modern technology jammers in Pakistan after the induction of the 3G, LTE technologies.
Chairman Senate Standing Committee for Defense production Lt. General (Retd) Abdul Qayyum was impressed by the standards of jammers being manufactured during a recent visit to the NRTC.

The devices which have been manufactured with imported ingredients by the NRTC, keeping in view indigenous requirements have also replaced imported and highly-expensive jammers. They can easily block all the wireless communications with 3G technologies.

However, the cellular industry of Pakistan has serious reservation with the mobile frequency jammers installed in the jails premises of the province. The industry has raised their concerns at different forums regarding disturbance of the cellular services in the surrounding areas of the jails which cause serious service complaints from the customers.

The industry officials said that these jammers also adversely affect the cellular services of adjoining areas while the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) punishes the companies in the light of Quality of Services Survey conducted by the authority in these areas.

An official of the PTA confirmed that cellular services of all the five operators are compromised in the adjoining areas of the Jails in Punjab. However, he said that the PTA did not strictly act against the companies about the provision of poor services in these areas knowing the limitations of the companies and country security, law and order requirements.

An official of the Punjab home department rejecting these objections of the cellular industry said that industry officials engage with the NRTC and jails department officials at the time of installation of the jammers to ensure the surrounding areas do not get impacted, therefore, it was a baseless allegation.

However, the cellular industry officials said that the jail officials themselves increase the frequency of the jammers which affect the mobile users’ services at large in the adjacent areas.

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